SOUL Headphones

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I was lucky enough to be sent two pairs of SOUL headphones last week and it was love at first listen. They had a slick but subtle style that I really dig and I think their noise canceling abilities are the best I’ve ever used.

I tested them out at the Raptors game last week and they were much better than the iTouch headphones I had been using. When listening to audio from player scrums they did a great job boosting the volume. Then, during the game when the Air Canada Centre DJ was blasting his music, the noise canceling allowed me to listen to the World Series game and not hear anything in the arena.

I’m a huge fan of the SOUL headphones and I understand why Usain Bolt and Tim Tebow endorse them.

Three Rookies To Watch In 2013-2014 Fantasy Basketball

The 2013 NBA Draft class was pretty weak overall, but there are still going to be a few solid contributors worth a look in fantasy basketball. In order to have success right away, a player needs skill and an opportunity. Here are three players who have both.

Cody Zeller

Scouts were high on Zeller to begin the college season a year ago, then soured on him, and then loved him again. He was drafted #4 overall by the Charlotte Bobcats, and that is a perfect location for him. Barring an injury, he should be the starting power forward alongside Al Jefferson. He is working on being a consistent stretch four who can hit midrange jumpers, and his motor is already a huge plus for him. Unless Steve Clifford decides to rotate bigs and limit playing time for his rookie, it should be a nice, productive season for the Indiana big man.

Victor Oladipo

Like his college teammate Zeller, Oladipo is mature enough to step in right away and play. Not only that, but the opportunity will be there for him to play right away for a young Orlando Magic team. They have tinkered with the idea to allow him to play point guard, so that could either sink or swim his fantasy basketball value. He is not a high pick, but the middle rounds will be a good time to grab a guy with great upside.

Ben McLemore

Anthony Bennett and Michael Carter-Williams are the major challengers for this position, but McLemore is probably the guy with the most upside in the entire draft. He can score with relative ease, so look for him to flourish in Sacramento if his shot is falling, this could be the biggest sleeper in the NBA.

Few Teams Ready To Compete For A Championship This Season

NBA training camps are less than a month from starting, but there are only a handful of teams who have a shot at hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy this June.

Sorry Nuggets, Grizzlies, Knicks and Hawks, but you’ve lost too many pieces this summer to still be considered contenders.

I also don’t think the Clippers, Nets, Warriors and Rockets made enough moves to challenge for a championship.

The Rockets are close, but they will likely need this season to build chemistry and need to add another point guard.

That leaves the Bulls, Heat, Spurs, Thunder and Pacers as the only teams I’d put money on to win it all this season if you’re going to bet on the NBA at an online sportsbook.

Miami has gone to three consecutive Finals and are the first back-to-back champs since the Lakers pulled it off. However, last year they got a big shot to stay alive and could have easily lost in six games to the Spurs. When you throw into the mix that they didn’t really make any big additions to the roster – I’m not sold on Greg Oden being healthy for the playoffs – and they lost a key rotation guy in Mike Miller and there are questions surrounding this Miami team.

In particular, what Dwyane Wade will show up? He’s been working out in Chicago with Tim Grover, but it remains to be seen how his body will hold up to the rigors of an NBA season and a long playoff run.

The Bulls have a legit chance to bump the Heat from the playoffs… as long as Derrick Rose is healthy. However, that’s a big if.

Last season the Pacers gave the Heat all they could handle and were only doomed by their lack of a bench. This summer the team fixed that issue by adding Chris Copeland, Luis Scola, and CJ Watson. Throw into the mix that Danny Granger’s return will bump Lance Stephenson to the bench and that further strengthens the team.

Personally, I feel the Pacers will advance out of what has now become a highly-competative Eastern Conference.

Who will they meet in the Finals? Oklahoma City will be an improved team with Russell Westbrook back and healthy, but I think the Spurs will once again rep the West in the Finals. They have the best coach in the game, a trio of future hall-of-famers and this summer they retained Tiago Splitter while Cory Joseph showed huge growth playing for Canada in international competition.

As for who will win it all, my money’s on the Pacers.

NBA Players With Bright Futures

With another NBA season about to start, we at Hoops Addict wanted to share some young players with bright futures.

Sure, basketball fans know about younger players like Paul George, Andre Drummond, and Larry Sanders, and there are a lot of teams you can read about that have bright NBA Futures at TopBet.eu, but there are still a lot of players you should keep an eye out for this season.

Here are a couple of young players that you should keep an eye on this season.

Jonas Valanciunas: The kid was an absolute beast in Las Vegas this July as he averaged 18.8 points, 10 rebounds and was named MVP of the tournament. Also worth noting is that Valanciunas’ growth isn’t just against second round picks, unsigned free agents and European players who can’t cut it in the NBA. The talented big man averaged 14.9 points and 5.9 points during the final month of last season; impressive stuff considering he only averaged 9.0 points in December. Instead of fading when he hit the rookie wall he burst through it and had arguably his best month of his rookie season in April.

Brandon Jennings: Sometimes all a player needs to take the next step is a change of scenery. Jennings has butted heads with the last few coaches he had in Milwaukee and getting to play for a legendary point guard in Mo Cheeks will help. Throw into the mix he’ll have Greg Monroe, Josh Smith and Andre Drummond to throw lobs to, and it’s expected his scoring burden will lesson while his assist totals will rise.

Jimmy Butler: Yes, I realize he had his coming out part in the playoffs, but there are still a lot of basketball fans who aren’t aware of how much his game has grown. He has earned playing time through his gritty defense, but his offense isn’t too shabby either. He’s shown an ability to hit the open jumper (46% from the field) but he can also step outside the arc and hit 3′s (38%). In the playoffs he stepped up huge and averaged 15.6 points against the Miami Heat.

Reggie Jackson: Last season when Russell Westbrook went down with a season-ending injury, it was Jackson who stepped up to average 13.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 dimes per game in the playoffs. Those numbers will take a hit this year as he won’t average 33.5 minutes like he did with Westbrook out, but it stands to reason that Jackson can step into the scoring spark role off the bench that Kevin Martin filled last year. Consider him a toned down version of James Harden.

From the Hard Court to the Tables: NBA Players and Poker

Basketball requires both psychological (focus and discipline) and physical skills (agility, coordination and stamina). Focus means coordinating your eyes, hands, legs, and feet to work together and win the game. As a physical sport, you need to be disciplined by training, doing cardiovascular workouts, strengthening your muscles, and increasing your body’s flexibility. A player, whether professional on the National Basketball League (NBA) court or an amateur shooting hoops with friends, must have the following qualities in order to win a game.

Same as the sport of basketball, the card game of poker requires skill, discipline, and focus. In fact, we’ve seen several prominent NBA players have been making the rounds at the tables lately, and even on Partypoker. Nicknamed “The Matrix”, Shawn Marion of the Dallas Maverick competed at the tables during the 2011 World Series of Poker (WSOP) hoping to win the one of the world’s most exclusive bracelets: the WSOP Championship Bracelet. Former Bolton Celtics’ small forward, Paul “The Truth” Pierce, displayed his poker skills during the 2013 WSOP 10K Pot-Limit Omaha Championship. Unfortunately, he got flushed out of the tournament. What keeps them playing poker outside the court?

Achieving Mental Toughness

Playing sports means challenging yourself both physically and mentally. First, you have to accept growth and develop your skills. Accept change and never remain static—always keep your eyes on the prize. In basketball, this means training hard, listening to criticism, and practicing. Since poker is a competitive game, it helps players to accept defeat graciously and to never give up. They learn to stay committed and control their emotions. As William Florence would say “The strong point in poker is never to lose your temper, either with those you are playing with or, more particularly, with the cards. Always keep cool. If you lose your head you will lose all your chips.” Same goes with basketball; the more you get angrier, the more you stand to lose the game.

Becoming Focused and Fearless

An arena filled with shouting and cheering fans can be really distracting. Compared to a typical poker tournament, everything is relatively quiet. Noise can really unsettle your nerves and cause you a critical match. But how can you keep your focus and become fearless on the court and the tables? Minimize distractions and stay focused on the game. Basketball players like Paul Pierce believe that playing poker helped him be a smarter NBA player. According to him “It helps me on the basketball court, to be more patient and to be more of a thinking player and to be smarter out there.” By being focused, you learn to be fearless and patient. You will never let fear come between you and your game.

Being Cheerful and Staying Positive

Basically, the point of playing basketball or poker is to have fun. Sometimes, we just need to play just for entertainment or charity. The French-raised NBA superstar, Tony Parker, hosted several poker charity events with his former wife, Eva Langoria. With players like him hosting events like these, it helps spread positive vibes on the hard court and the tables.